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Posted in Worker's Compensation on October 2, 2023
Workplace injuries are not uncommon, but there are times when a workplace incident could trigger an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). However, an OSHA investigation should not affect a person’s workers’ compensation claim. While there are a few exceptions, individuals should be able to recover benefits for their medical bills and lost wages.
It is important to understand that individuals who sustain job-related injuries or illnesses will almost always recover compensation through the workers’ compensation insurance provided by their employer.
Workers’ compensation is a type of “no-fault” insurance. This means that individuals will be able to recover compensation for their medical bills and a portion of their lost wages, regardless of who caused the injury or illness. Even if the employee caused their own injury, they will typically be able to recover benefits.
There are a few ways that an OSHA investigation could affect a workers’ compensation claim. Every accident that results in an injury or workplace fatality could be investigated by OSHA. Additionally, employee or third-party complaints could trigger an OSHA investigation.
If the agency does get involved, individuals will still be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits, but an OSHA investigation could uncover evidence that leads to a denial of benefits. For example, some common reasons workers’ compensation claims are denied that could be uncovered by OSHA include:
In these circumstances, the employee may see that their claim is denied. If a workers’ comp claim gets denied, this would exclude the injury victim from receiving continued medical benefits, and they would not be able to receive lost wages or disability benefits.
However, an OSHA investigation could uncover willful violations of safety measures on the part of the employer or another party involved in the workplace. In these circumstances, the workers’ compensation claim would not typically be affected, but this could open up another avenue for a worker to receive compensation.
If an investigation uncovers that the employer or another party was grossly negligent or intentionally caused harm, the injury or illness victim may be able to file a civil personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. Yes, the injured worker may be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits regardless, but a personal injury lawsuit based on negligence could help them recover additional types of compensation. This would include not only coverage of their medical expenses and lost wages but also a loss of future earnings as well as compensation for pain and suffering.
Third-party personal injury lawsuits are more complex because they involve proving that the other party’s negligent or intentional actions caused the injury. We strongly encourage any person who has sustained a workplace injury and has questions about their compensation to reach out to an attorney for assistance as soon as possible. A skilled Phoenix work injury lawyer can help examine the facts of the case and determine the best route or routes for recovering compensation.